When I was in New York City a few years ago I went by taxi from the airport to my hotel on Manhattan. I had looked into the maps and knew where my hotel was. But the taxi driver just crossed the street we were going to. I commented on this to the driver, afraid of him going a longer way than necessary. He then just said:
“Driving on Manhattan is not so much about the address. It is more about the traffic.”
I have now been working for about 100 days on my new job (and had some vacation) and came to think about that taxi driver when I tried to summarize my work so far. The most important thing when you start out on a new mission in enterprise architecture is to understand the traffic in your new organization. With traffic I mean mainly these things:
- The way in which the executive decisions are made. In order to create architecture guidance with high value you need to know in what ways decisions are made and make sure that your deliverables contains what the decision makers need. Otherwise your road will be full of red stop lights.
- The key motivation factors for the organization and the people you are working with.
Some would have labeled this as governance and stakeholders, but I think those terms takes away some of the sense that this is actually about people. The way to create your understanding of the traffic is to work on your personal network and get to know the people in your organization. Make sure that you adopt your deliverables so that they contain the key information that the decision makers need in your new organization, and do not just use a standard version of a deliverable from your favorite architecture framework.
This is what I mean with understanding traffic. Learn the many soft factors that create the pulse of the traffic in your organization!
And as a little bit of a contradiction: Even though the architecture work is about finding the best directions in traffic, the best song ever made to listen to when driving is Chuck Berry’s “No particular place to go” ;-)